Breeders’ Cup Catch-Up: Swiss Skydiver in the Classic?

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Who is on the rise heading into the Nov. 6-7 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland? And whose form is slipping as the year-end event approaches?

Each week, we’ll review the latest “Win and You’re In” qualifiers from the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and explore who’s hot and who’s not heading into the Breeders’ Cup.

On the rise

Essential Quality

The Godolphin homebred brought his record to a perfect 2-for-2 with an easy victory in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Futurity (G1).

It wasn’t a flawless performance. He raced a bit greenly down the homestretch, and he appears to “paddle” with his left front leg, swinging it outward while he gallops.

But Essential Quality left no doubt about his superiority on the day, as he pressed fractions of :23.97, :48.86, and 1:13.40, then pulled clear to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Assuming he stays sound, this Brad Cox trainee has a bright future.

Simply Ravishing

Turf or dirt, sprint or route, Simply Ravishing can handle it all.

This exciting 2-year-old recorded her third victory from as many starts in the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland, where she led all the way to trounce a deep field (that including stakes winners Crazy Beautiful and Thoughtfully) by 6 1/4 lengths.

Her final time of 1:43.58 was fast, and the fact that she has won a Grade 1 race over the same track and distance as the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) is a big positive.

Swiss Skydiver

No filly or mare has won the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) since Zenyatta in 2009, which sounds strangely like the stat Swiss Skydiver defied when she defeated males in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness (G1) at Pimlico.

The last filly to claim top honors in the Preakness was Rachel Alexandra in 2009, but that didn’t stop Swiss Skydiver from surging up the rail to defeat Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Authentic in a driving finish.

Her final time of 1:53.28 ranks as the second-fastest Preakness ever, so trainer Kenny McPeek has the left the door open for Swiss Skydiver to face males again in the Classic.

Slipping

Art Collector

After he missed the Kentucky Derby with a minor hoof issue, Art Collector received a tricky trip racing between horses in the Preakness and failed to bring his “A” game.

When the real running began, Art Collector weakened to finish fourth, 10 lengths behind Swiss Skydiver, a sharp form reversal considering he’d defeated the filly by 3 1/2 lengths in the July 11 Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland.

Art Collector will need a big rebound if he is going to remain in contention for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Dunbar Road

This grade 1 winner was favored at even money to win the 1 1/8-mile Beldame (G2) at Belmont Park against just three rivals, but after she settled a dozen lengths off the lead through blazing early fractions, Dunbar Road failed to accelerate and trudged home third by 5 1/4 lengths, behind a pace-tracking winner.

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This was Dunbar Road’s first start since she underwent surgery to correct a breathing issue, and she clearly ran below par, compared to her easy, three-length win in the Delaware H. (G2) during the summer.

Perhaps Dunbar Road was short of peak fitness, which opens the door for the possibility of an improved effort in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

Whitmore

The runner-up in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and third in 2019, the 7-year-old veteran appears to have lost a step or two.

He was the winner or runner-up in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 editions of the Phoenix (G2) at Keeneland, but Whitmore failed to bring his “A” game for his fourth appearance, when he rallied belatedly to finish fourth, beaten 2 3/4 lengths.

He will need to recapture peak form if he is going to vie for an elusive victory in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Breeders’ Cup 2020 Draw: Baffert’s Classic Trio Draw Outside Posts 8-9-10; Improbable 5-2 Favorite; Swiss Skydiver Going in Distaff

Breeders’ Cup Draw: Baffert’s Classic Trio Draw Outside Posts 8-9-10; Improbable 5-2 Favorite; Swiss Skydiver Going in Distaff

By Richard Rosenblatt

Improbable – Photo Courtesy of Santa Anita

A little more drama was added to the Breeders’ Cup on Monday: Preakness-winning filly Swiss Skydiver will take on champion Monomoy Girl in the $2 million Distaff rather than challenge the boys again – Improbable, Maximum Security, Authentic and Tiz the Law among them — in the $6 million Classic (G1).

While the decision to enter Swiss Skydiver in the 1 1/8-mile Distaff was not a surprise, it became official at the Breeders’ Cup post-position draw.

The $31 million Breeders’ Cup begins Friday with five races for 2-year-olds, including the BC Juvenile (G1) featuring unbeaten Jackie’s Warrior, made the 7-5 morning-line favorite in a full field of 14.

On Saturday, nine BC races are on card at Keeneland Race Course, capped by the 1 ¼-mile Classic. Racing fans are in for a treat in the 10-horse showdown that includes Belmont Stakes (G1) winner Tiz the Law and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s trio of multiple-Grade 1 winner Improbable, Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Authentic and star-crossed Maximum Security.

Improbable, winner of the Awesome Again (G1) in his most recent start, was made the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Classic, leaving from post No. 8. Tiz the Law, trained by Barclay Tagg, drew the No. 2 post and was the second choice at 3-1.

Maximum Security, the DQ’d 2019 Kentucky Derby first-place finisher, is 7-2 and drew the No. 10 post. Authentic leaves form the No. 9 post.

“That was crazy,’’ Baffert said of his three horses drawing the outside posts. “They’re going to be easy to watch. They have to break well.

“Improbable, he deserves to be the favorite. They all have speed and those jockeys will work it out. The riders I have are smart, they know their horse and are going to ride their own horse. And the horses are doing well. If they show up, they have to bring their ‘A’ game.”

The Distaff drew a field of 10 fillies and mares. Monomoy Girl, the 2018 Distaff winner who missed all of 2019 but is 3-0 in 2020, was made the 8-5 favorite from post No. 10. Swiss Skydiver drew the No. 5 post and is 2-1.

Tagg was not thrilled with an inside post, but said, “I’d rather have that than the 15 in a 15-horse race. He’s fit, he’s healthy, he’s doing well. I can’t do any more for him.”

Swiss Skydiver, owned by Peter Callahan and trained by Ken McPeek, was cross-entered in the Classic and Distaff, but in the end the 3-year old Alabama (G1) winner will race against other females.

“The Distaff just made more sense,” McPeek said.

This Classic, in the year of the COVID-19 pandemic that reshuffled the racing schedule, looks to have one of the most competitive fields in years. The results of the race likely will determine Horse of the Year, and several divisional championship.

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A total of 184 horses, including 37 competing internationally, were entered for the two-day, 14-race Breeders’ Cup. It’s the second time the event is being held at Keeneland.

In other races:

Friday

Juvenile Turf Sprint

Golden Pal, second in the Norfolk (G2) at Royal Ascot and winner of the Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite in a full field of 14 with three also-eligibles. Golden Pal, one of four entries for trainer Wesley Ward, leaves from the outside No. 14 post.

Juvenile Turf

Shadwell Stable’s Mutasaabeq is the 5-1 morning-line choice in a field of 14, drawing the No. 6 post with Luis Saez aboard. The Into Mischief colt won the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 4.

Juvenile Fillies

Princess Noor, trained by Baffert and unbeaten in her three starts, tops the seven-horse field as the 9-5 favorite; she drew the No. 7 post and will be ridden by Victor Espinoza. Simply Ravishing and Dayoutoftheoffice are 5-2 co-second choices.

Juvenile Turf Fillies

Aunt Pearl, with Florent Geroux gaining the mount for trainer Brad Cox, is the 3-1 morning-line choice in a full field of 14 with two also eligibles. The unbeaten filly drew the No. 5 post. Co-second choices are Plum Alley and Campanelle, each 4-1.

Saturday

Gamine Longines Test

Gamine – Courtesy of NYRA/Coglianese Photo

Filly & Mare Turf

Gamine, another Baffert trainee, tops the field of nine as the 7-5 choice, with 2019 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Serengeti Empress next at 3-1. The 7-furlong sprint should be a speedy one as long as the favorites get a clean break. Gamine, with John Velazquez getting the call, drew the No. 2 post; Serengeti Empress leaves from post No. 7.

Gamine romped in the Test (G1) by seven lengths and in the Acorn (G1) by 18 ¾ lengths. She ran third in the Oaks in her most recent start.

Turf Sprint

Got Stormy, last year’s runner-up in the Mile, drops down in distance and is the slight 7-2 morning-line favorite over Imprimis and Leinster, both at 4-1. A full field of 14 was entered with four also eligibles.

Dirt Mile

A bunch of runners from Triple Crown races are in this full field of 12, but it’s trainer Chad Brown’s Complexity who was made the 2-1 top early choice. The 4-year-old colt won the Kelso (G2) in his previous start after finishing second in the Forego (G1). Art Collector, winner of the Blue Grass over this track, drew the rail; Complexity leaves from the No. 10 post. 2019 Preakness winner War of Will is 10-1.

Filly & Mare Turf

Rushing Fall, trained by Chad Brown, is the 5-2 early choice in a field of 14, and drew the No. 6 post. Sistercharlie, the 2018 winner of this race, is 6-1 and drew the No. 2 post.

Sprint

This 6-furlong dash always seems to produce surprises, and the draw was an interesting one with Vekoma, the 3-1 favorite, drawing the outside No. 14 post. Vekoma, winner of the Met Mile (G1) and 3-0 in 2020, takes on the likes of C Z Rocket (7-2) and Yaupon (7-2).

Mile

Ivar, a 4-year-old bred in Brazil, is the 4-1 favorite in a race traditionally won by European runners. Trainer Chad Brown’s Uni, the defending champion in the race, is back and listed at 5-1. Ivar comes into the race off a win in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland on Oct. 3. A field of 14 was entered, and one also eligible.

Turf

A year ago, Bricks and Mortar won the Turf to clinch Horse of the Year honors. On Saturday, a field of 10 goes to the post, with trainer Aidan O’Brien’s Magical the 5-2 favorite over second choice and stablemate Mogul at 4-1.

The races will be televised live on NBC and NBCSN. Coverage begins Friday on NBCSN from 2-6 p.m. ET. Live coverage continues Saturday on NBCSN from 12-2:30 p.m., and on NBC from 2:30-6 p.m.

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Breeders’ Cup Catch-Up: Swiss Skydiver in the Classic?

Article Image

Who is on the rise heading into the Nov. 6-7 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland? And whose form is slipping as the year-end event approaches?

Each week, we’ll review the latest “Win and You’re In” qualifiers from the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and explore who’s hot and who’s not heading into the Breeders’ Cup.

On the rise

Essential Quality

The Godolphin homebred brought his record to a perfect 2-for-2 with an easy victory in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Futurity (G1).

It wasn’t a flawless performance. He raced a bit greenly down the homestretch, and he appears to “paddle” with his left front leg, swinging it outward while he gallops.

But Essential Quality left no doubt about his superiority on the day, as he pressed fractions of :23.97, :48.86, and 1:13.40, then pulled clear to win by 3 1/4 lengths. Assuming he stays sound, this Brad Cox trainee has a bright future.

Simply Ravishing

Turf or dirt, sprint or route, Simply Ravishing can handle it all.

This exciting 2-year-old recorded her third victory from as many starts in the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland, where she led all the way to trounce a deep field (that including stakes winners Crazy Beautiful and Thoughtfully) by 6 1/4 lengths.

Her final time of 1:43.58 was fast, and the fact that she has won a Grade 1 race over the same track and distance as the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) is a big positive.

Swiss Skydiver

No filly or mare has won the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) since Zenyatta in 2009, which sounds strangely like the stat Swiss Skydiver defied when she defeated males in the 1 3/16-mile Preakness (G1) at Pimlico.

The last filly to claim top honors in the Preakness was Rachel Alexandra in 2009, but that didn’t stop Swiss Skydiver from surging up the rail to defeat Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Authentic in a driving finish.

Her final time of 1:53.28 ranks as the second-fastest Preakness ever, so trainer Kenny McPeek has the left the door open for Swiss Skydiver to face males again in the Classic.

Slipping

Art Collector

After he missed the Kentucky Derby with a minor hoof issue, Art Collector received a tricky trip racing between horses in the Preakness and failed to bring his “A” game.

When the real running began, Art Collector weakened to finish fourth, 10 lengths behind Swiss Skydiver, a sharp form reversal considering he’d defeated the filly by 3 1/2 lengths in the July 11 Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland.

Art Collector will need a big rebound if he is going to remain in contention for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Dunbar Road

This grade 1 winner was favored at even money to win the 1 1/8-mile Beldame (G2) at Belmont Park against just three rivals, but after she settled a dozen lengths off the lead through blazing early fractions, Dunbar Road failed to accelerate and trudged home third by 5 1/4 lengths, behind a pace-tracking winner.

This was Dunbar Road’s first start since she underwent surgery to correct a breathing issue, and she clearly ran below par, compared to her easy, three-length win in the Delaware H. (G2) during the summer.

Perhaps Dunbar Road was short of peak fitness, which opens the door for the possibility of an improved effort in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

Whitmore

The runner-up in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and third in 2019, the 7-year-old veteran appears to have lost a step or two.

He was the winner or runner-up in the 2017, 2018, and 2019 editions of the Phoenix (G2) at Keeneland, but Whitmore failed to bring his “A” game for his fourth appearance, when he rallied belatedly to finish fourth, beaten 2 3/4 lengths.

He will need to recapture peak form if he is going to vie for an elusive victory in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Source https://edge.twinspires.com/racing/breeders-cup-catch-up-swiss-skydiver-in-the-classic/

Source https://www.usracing.com/news/breeders-cup-2020-draw-bafferts-classic-trio-draw-outside-posts-8-9-10-improbable-5-2-favorite-swiss-skydiver-going-in-distaff

Source https://edge.twinspires.com/racing/breeders-cup-catch-up-swiss-skydiver-in-the-classic/

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